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Juliet the Maniac

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Voted by both Bustle and Nylon as a most anticipated novel of 2019, this portrait of a young teenager's fight toward understanding and recovering from mental illness is shockingly dark, funny, and heartfelt.

A highly anticipated debut—from a writer hailed as "a combination of Denis Johnson and Joan Didion" (Dazed)—brilliantly captures the intimate triumph of a girl's strugg
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Melville House
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  257 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

"It is hard to tease out the beginning. When I was living it, my disintegration seemed sudden, like I had once been whole but then my reality swiftly slipped apart into sand. Not even sand, but slime, something desperate and oozing and sick. But looking back - I was a slow burn that eventually imploded."

Juliet Escoria has moments of literary brilliance, I mean just read that opening quote.

This book, however, fell really flat for me.

It's a fiction book that re
Bud Smith
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really great novel. It’s about a teenage girl who loses her mind and goes looking for it in an institution. Reading this reminded me how great art can be when it’s wounded and weird and funny and strange where the heart is. Takes place in the 90s, back blurb compares it to the Bell Jar and Girl, Interrupted. I thought it was its own beast. I thought it was wild and fun, and devastating, and cool.
Scott Mcclanahan
Uh huh. Get ready.
Aga Durka
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Haunting Stars!

“ …I truly felt like I had a broken brain. Except it wasn’t even my brain. It was a brain of a homicidal maniac. She was trying to kill me…”

A story told by a 14-year-old Juliet, is a story of drug addition, mental illness, and teenage rebellion. This is an unapologetic, raw, and ruthlessly honest account of a young girl’s struggle to fight the demons of mental illness. It was a heart-wrenching, dark, and horrifying read for me, but I admired Juliet’s ability to distance herself
Jessica Sullivan
“Not once did anyone ever talk about what it was like when the trauma was yourself.”

This stark, unsentimental novel puts readers inside the head of Juliet, a teenager in the late 1990s battling bipolar disorder, drug addiction, and suicidal ideation.

The first-person narrative is cleverly supplemented with reports from therapists and psychiatrists on Juliet’s diagnosis, behavior and condition to juxtapose her internal perspective with the external.

While it’s a raw and candid account of an adolesc
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've been struggling for a few days over how to review Juliet the Maniac. From reading other reviews on here it seems a lot of people went into this with totally the wrong expectations (either being misled by the cute coloured cover or the apparent YA categorisation on Netgalley) but that isn't what I'm struggling with - it was in fact exactly what I thought it would be, albeit even better.

This is some stellar auto fiction which (seemingly, it's hard to be sure) draws closely on the author's own
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I couldn't possibly do this book justice by reviewing it. It was SO incredible and so accurate in all of her descriptions from the way that she felt to psychiatric hospitalization to the effects that the different drugs have. I found pieces of myself in Juliet's story, frequently snapping pictures of certain pages or jotting lines down in my notebook. Honestly, I'll have to buy a copy so that I can highlight the crap out of it (I don't think the library would appreciate that much). Beautifully d ...more
Infectiously readable and excellently executed, Juliet the Maniac is a brilliant cross between memoir and fiction. Escoria packs a million little punches, reminding the reader just how much truth is written into these page, sharing some of the most personal moments of her teenage years via scans of the letters she wrote, her initial hospital bracelet, and patient evaluation statuses.

Cracking the book open, I was worried that I'd focus too heavily on the blending of fact vs fiction, wondering wh
♥ Kym
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate that I have a weakness for a shade of pink book covers.


I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest book review.

It’s very disturbing. Sure, the character is experiencing mental health issues and it's not something light to discuss, it was brave for the author to tell Juliet’s story, how she was able to write what was happening to the character’s mind, and I don’t expect perfection or a good plot because the mi
May 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF - i tried to like this, i wanted to like this, and at first i did. But after part one it got very boring and redundant. It was the same thing over and over and felt more like an edgier YA book with lots of drug use and sex. It just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I get that it was more so an autobiographical novel and i feel bad giving someone else’s trauma 1 Star but the way it was delivered In diary form just really didn’t keep me invested, i hope anyone who is excited for this book love ...more
Brutal. This book reads far more like fiction than it does a memoir, and I mean that in the best way possible since I tore through it, completely unable to put it down. I haven't come across a book that describes what it's like having bipolar disorder as well as this one does, and there were so many moments where I couldn't breathe because a particular example or story of Juliet's sounded so much like one of my own personal experiences before I was on some damn good medication. Juliet's wild emo ...more
Olivia Loving
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
From what I posted on Instagram:

I. loved. this. I read it in almost one sitting; I wanted to keep reading but fell asleep four hours in, after it literally plopped on my doorstep and I ran out to grab it. I’d ordered it with the new one-day shipping on Prime, which I felt sort of guilty about, but I somehow knew I would love it and wanted to read it immediately. There were SO MANY beautiful lines, but I managed to just underline this one -- "We ran around in the sand, splashing in the shallow p
Shannon McLeod
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredible. Intense, funny, tender, deeply relatable for my teenage — heck, and current — self. You need to read this.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title

This book reminded me very much of Go Ask Alice . It felt very journalistic but in another way poetic. Each of the 'smaller' sections of the book feels almost like a free verse poem.

The story (of which I am unsure if it's biographical or not) follows Juliet through her teenage life dealing with mental illness. Representation wise this novel is done well however I think it may strengthen certain stereotypes about Bi-polar disorder
Cari Cole
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For all of the Sylvia Plaths living in a Rupi Kaur world, this novel feels like it was sewn from our collective journeys. Not quite a memoir or a true bildungsroman, but something so much more – a companion to whisper, "you're not alone."
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

The opening is iconic, how each element builds: first, the simple chord progression – E major to C sharp minor, G sharp to A major – strummed on an acoustic guitar, working in tandem with high-pitched background vocals yelping “wooo ooooh”. Next, a snare drum acting as an emergency flare, all but signaling the entrance to THE RIFF, one so celebrated it would be easy to forget what immediately follows. And yet it’s what comes next – the opening verse – that’s most impactful:

“With your f
Rachel Bridgeman
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-2019
Many thanks to the publishers, Melville House, for sending me this book to review, it was an absolute pleasure to be able to read it and revel in it. It is so beautifully written which may sound odd considering the content,but it genuinely is.

It takes you inside the mind of fourteen year old Juliet, from the moment that she realises she sees things differently from her contemporaries, to the pupils at the new school she is sent to and then the boarding school which her parents believe will 'cure
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a stark, to the point and often very difficult novel to read. Not only is the structure of the story unusual, but the contents are at times horrifying and brutal.
Told, in the main, by fourteen-year-old Juliet; the reader is exposed to her innermost thoughts as she battles the mental illness that almost kills her. For it is a disease and it is the disease that kills, regardless of if the actual killing is carried out by ones own hand.

As the main character's name is the same as that of the
Ace Boggess
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book isn't to be read so much as experienced. It vividly depicts the world of a bipolar teenager with depth and understanding. The story is ugly and honest, beautiful and sad, uplifting and overwhelming--pick an adjective, I'm sure it fits here. Just a thoroughly compelling read.

While the author and narrator share the same name, the book bills itself as a novel, yet lacks the usual disclaimer about "any resemblance to actual persons," so of course you as reader will spend much of your
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
When Juliet finally comes to High School, she has high expectations. Since she is assigned to many honours classes, her talents sure will soon be seen by her teachers. However, instead of concentrating on her educational goals, Juliet is completely preoccupied with what others think of her, why she does not fit in and why she even lost the only friend she had in middle school. She struggles more and more and enters a spiral of drugs and self-harm until she, at last, cries for help and is brought ...more
No stars - I gave up on this one halfway through. It just doesn’t work as a novel. Maaaaybe as a memoir... Some autofiction manages to sketch out believable characters while skirting the line of memoir, but this book just doesn’t get that far. A girl’s string of mental breakdowns, hospital stays, drug use and general teenage misbehavior doesn’t frame her up as a novel’s main character well enough for me to stay invested. But do read her husband Scott’s book The Sarah Book, which I liked... which ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have received an ARC from publisher via NetGalley form an honest review.

Thank you Juliet.
Thank you for providing such a detailed and realistic insights into the onset and struggles of mental illnesses. There are a lot of misconceptions about mental illnesses especially when it comes to depression and self-harm. This book allows us to get a glimpse of the inner turmoil of a person who suffers from manic depression and hopefully in turn, more understanding and compassion for people who are strug
Jalia Shelley
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking story of a young girls journey through mental illness. Content is eye opening and hard to get through, but ultimately uplifting. Thank goodness the medical community recognizes mental illness and takes it more seriously now than it did in the 80’s and 90’s. Bravo to Ms.Escoria for bravely telling her story and hopefully helping many others, you are truly an inspiration. Thank you #NetGalley for this beautiful book.
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark and beautiful and so well-written. An extremely empathetic story for anyone who's ever dealt with mental illness. Every raw thought and emotion is both so eloquent and believable as the voice of the teenaged narrator. This book kept me up at night.
Neelam Babul
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spectacular novel about a teenage girl, Juliet who spirals from a completely normal teenage life to one of mental illness. This book could be compared with Girl, Interrupted which also revolves around the same theme.

The story is a raw account of her use of drugs as a means of maintaining control and trying to make sense of life when your mind functions differently than the rest of the people around you.

It was a touching, heart wrenching and devastating story.
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What a way to get into someones head. That head mentally ill. While I guess it ended on a positive note, I was sorry that we didn't get to hear how she turned everything around. I know she did becuase I've met her. I know her parents and they are quite proud of her. A good read for anyone who has compassion.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devoured this absolute banger of a book. Screwed me up too
Chris Haak
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very daring and honest novel of an adolescent growing up whilst trying to cope with psychological problems such as manic depression, cutting, suicide attempts etc. Luckily, she has got friends and a good relationship with her parents. Very impressive.

Thanks Melville House and Edelweiss for the Arc.
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished & crying. Wow.
This book is not for everyone...
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'I prayed for the opposite of salvation. I prayed for abandonment. I prayed for God to forget me.'

Juliet the Maniac takes the period in our lives that is one of the hardest, adolescence but explores more than your typical, familiar teenage angst by sinking into the depths of mental illness. Medicines that cause dizziness, that maybe tune out the ‘many noises or shadows’ and yet doesn’t work enough. The fog that enters the brain, when most kids a
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JULIET ESCORIA is the author of the novel JULIET THE MANIAC, forthcoming from Melville House in May 2019. She also wrote the poetry collection WITCH HUNT (Lazy Fascist Press 2016) and the story collection BLACK CLOUD (CCM/Emily Books 2014), which were both listed in various best of the year roundups. Her writing can be found in places like Lenny, Catapult, VICE, Prelude, Dazed, and Hobart and has ...more